I wish the me seven Christmases ago could see the me now.
I wish the broken me who could barely make it through the motions then could see the happy me now.
I wish the worried me who hardly had a penny to her name could see me now.
2013 was my first year as a single mom. And 2019 is the last year. And the seven Christmases in between have taught me so much. So much about strength and bravery and time. I don’t know if I really wanted to be taught or I expected to be taught so much, but often when one is at their lowest lessons come rapidly.
I learned. Even if I didn’t feel ready or willing.
You can’t rush time.
You can’t blink your eyes and the hurt disappears.
You can’t wish away doing hard things.
You can’t do anything but go through.
You have to live.
And sometimes it means living broken with hope and faith that someday the broken will be scars that don’t hurt every single day but rather define the strength and beauty of one’s soul.
I don’t think the me way back then would believe that healing can come from the ashes. Oh she would have nodded and smiled, but her heart was so tender, so bruised, she had to do everything she could to keep it together. She would have thought that the “beauty from the ashes” was such a cliche answer because she was so afraid back then it might not be true.
And yet, the me now can tell you that ashes can produce the most exquisite beauty.
It means risking.
It means feeling.
It means loving.
Sister, if that is you, you in one of those places that feels so low, I see you. I love you. I believe in you. I am so proud of you. So deeply proud of you. You are brave and strong and you will make it through.
Beauty can come from the ashes.
Scars don’t have to weigh you down but can make you courageous.
It just takes time.
So be gentle and yet push yourself.
Let yourself dream.
Let yourself stumble.
Let yourself stand up again.
Let yourself prove the critics wrong.
Let yourself be strong.
Let yourself feel.
Let yourself love.
And keep on being brave.
You see, those first Christmases after my divorce required every ounce of courage I had to get through. Simple things like ornaments felt like weights on my heart. And yet, now, now here I was, carrying a tree proudly to the van filled with kids who were so excited for the moment.
The weight shifted. Life became lighter again.
The me now wants you to know that life can be redeemed.
Ashes can become beautiful.
ps….it means so much to me that my eighteen year old daughter Grace, who has walked with me so closely these years, thought to take this picture today. It’s priceless to me. Oh yes, and my 14 yo told me, “this is the best Christmas ever…” Time heals, my friends. It heals.
This so resonates with me. I lost my husband two y just two years ago to pancreatic cancer and now I am fighting stage 4 colonorectal cancer myself, but my joy and peace is stronger than it has ever been. God is my strength and shield. Life is hard, but keep going, step by step. Moment by moment. You always encourage me Rachel. One of my goals in life is to encourage young moms. Merry Christmas, dear friend and the happiest of New Years. Love to you.
At a time when I feel so alone and that nobody understands, I read your words and actually smile for the first time in a long time. You DO understand! You wrote it all. Perfectly.
Yesterday, my almost 18 year old asked me when I started hating Christmas and I realized that I wasn’t hiding my pain very well. I decided to tell her the truth so that she could, hopefully, understand, but I don’t think it did. I feel like my tree is laying on the floor and I’m laying next to it.
So, I’m writing to thank you for giving me hope. I’m still laying here among the ashes. I look forward to the beauty! Thank you!
its really priceless.. I am glad you shared your story..
Oh, Rach. I REMEMBER. I remember that 2013 Christmas and the ones after, and I want to whip FLIPS that the dreams we prayed so hard for came TRUE in your life, hon! You came THROUGH it and back into the light, my friend, and so did your home and fam! God BLESS this new Christmas season with Dan and your kids – May it fill your heart even more than you think possible! Love you, hon! *Amos
Thank you Amy. Love you too.
My husband contacted a disease while a patient in a hospital,he died in 5 days. on 12/13 I will never heal.We were married 60 years. The hospital denied all request. My memories are treasures,but others are painful
Wow. Last January my husband told me he’d been having an affair with our realtor. After months of doing everything I could to save my marriage and keep my family in tact he told me wasn’t interested whatsoever in that and that he instead wanted to continue to pursue his girlfriend. He moved out and we are now in the process of divorcing. The enemy gets to me the most in thoughts of future Christmas mornings when my two boys will be with their dad in a house that is not the only home they’ve ever known, potentially with the girlfriend as a step mother. Sometimes the weight of it is too much to bear. I needed this reminder more than you know. Thank you so so much for these words.